Glenn Beck: Bank bust - Who's to blame?


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GLENN: Today I want to lay the case out to you, because we have to know what happened to the economy. You have to know that they are printing money as we speak at the Treasury. You have to know what you know and know who caused it, how did it start, and you've got to bring yourself up to speed rapidly to be able to share with your friends the truth so they know how to make a decision on which one of these candidates, if either of them, was responsible. Which one of these candidates can help us get out of the mess.

Yesterday Barack Obama said, and I quote: Senator McCain bragged about how as chairman of the commerce committee in the Senate he had oversight of every part of the economy. Well, I can say to Senator McCain, nice job, nice job. He was in Vegas and he said, quote: I will crack down on predatory lenders, the all too often target the African American community, the one that targets the Hispanic community with tough new penalties that treat mortgage fraud like the crime that it is. And the crowd went wild.

It is important that you hear, "I will crack down on predatory lenders." Have you heard that before? The people that often target the African American community, target the Hispanic community with tough new penalties. Got it? Okay.

Today I'm going to lay out the case for you in the next 10 minutes and I think you're going to understand who is responsible for this credit crunch and this credit crisis, and you ain't gonna like the answer, but this I believe is a big part of the answer. The Community Reinvestment Act. It was started, it was a "Feel good" measure back in the 1970s and Jimmy Carter started it, "We've got to invest in our communities again." Well, in 1992 Boston's Federal Reserve did a study. They funded this study and in this study they found subtle racism in the banking system, discrimination in lending. This is again from the Boston race study, discrimination in lending. There were a couple of things in there that were stark. For instance, they showed a white guy and a black guy. Both went in to buy a house for $60,000. The black man didn't get the loan even though his assets, his net worth was stated as $10 million. The bank didn't give a $60,000 loan to a guy who had $10 million in assets. How did that happen other than you didn't want to lend to a black man. Well, the Fed used this study and they brought it to congress and congress just latched onto this thing. Unfortunately within just a couple of months, another group, another university came in and looked at this study and said, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, we've looked at the raw data; these are mistakes in here. First of all, the analysis is wrong, but the facts are wrong. In the one that everybody was using, the black guy with the $10 million in assets that didn't get a loan, it wasn't $10 million. When you looked at the raw data, it was $1,000. He had $1,000 in assets. So the subtle proof that was left to stand, because nobody went back and revised it. Nobody went back and said, oh, well, okay, we have to throw this study out because it is so wrong. They just let the subtle proof, and here was the subtle proof.



The discrimination in lending, see if any of these sound familiar in 1992. Discrimination in lending was that banks wouldn't make loans in low income areas. So if you were in Detroit and you had a house that was selling for $100,000 last year and is now worth $10,000, the banks were like, no, we're not going to loan anybody any money; it's a bad section of town. The other subtle proof, banks had minimum lending requirements. So in other words, they could say we only lend $10,000 because there's no money in it for us at $2,000. We only lend 20 because there's no money in $10,000. That was racism. The application fee was racist. The fact that you had to actually say "Could you verify your income" was racist. That was 1992.

In 1992 again they wanted to revise the Community Reinvestment Act and they wanted to put in all of these penalties if you were being racist. Now, under the CRA, the banks had to convince a set of bureaucracies that they weren't engaging in discrimination, and the discrimination could be called by anybody. You could just raise your hand and say they're discriminating. ACORN was a big one that said discrimination. But again what counted as discrimination after 1992, arbitrary or outdated criteria. That outdated or arbitrary criteria income level, income verification, credit history and savings history. Do any of those things sound familiar? So to satisfy the demands of what now had been passed into law, lenders developed a sub prime mortgage. Didn't have sub prime before. That way potential borrowers who couldn't qualify for the 30 year traditional fixed mortgage had a way, so the bank wasn't being racist. In 1994 less than 5% of mortgage were sub prime. By 2006 20% of new mortgages were sub prime. Politicians and the Fed, they were excited about this, this is fantastic. It's a new mortgage that puts families in homes, gives them a piece of the American dream. How many times did you hear people say that? In 1994 Janet Reno said the Justice Department was going to go after banks that were racists. They said today's actions demonstrate we will attack lending discrimination wherever it is and whatever form it appears. No loan is exempt. No bank is immune. For those who thumb their nose at us, I promise vigorous enforcement. Sounds a little like Barack Obama today. Just so you know, there were no fines. You didn't even have to report this information to the government, but here's what happened. If you didn't, you were called racist. That's your fine. You were called a racist bank. If you wanted to open a branch, if ACORN decided to come against you, they would protest your opening up of a branch in that area and they would say you were a racist lender. If you wanted to do a merger, you couldn't do a merger because you hadn't played ball. You hadn't done the low interest rate, the mortgage with no income verification. Those in Washington stood in your way on any business you wanted to do.

Why do you think when J.P. Morgan and Chase teamed up, when they merged together, why do you think the first thing they did when they announced that merger was to make a gigantic donation to ACORN? It was extortion. Everybody was excited about this. Alan Greenspan came out in support of the mortgage options. He said Americans, consumers I'm quoting might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed rate mortgages. The chairman and CEO of Freddie Mac made affordable housing a priority and created new mortgage products that allowed for lower down payments. This was in 2004. Ten years, ten years after they enacted all of these laws to make sure that nobody was being discriminatory.

President Bush in 2004 launched his down payment initiative which provided assistance to low income families to help them with their initial down payment, which was quickly followed by his zero down payment initiative which eliminated the requirement of a minimum 3% down payment for FHA insured single family mortgages. If you were a first time buyer, zero down. In 2005 Barack Obama said it's not good enough that the real estate market is prospering for some. Everyone has to be able to get affordable housing.

Barney Frank said no one wants to be called out for racism by opposing any of these requirements. In 2007 Barney Frank went on to say the data showing serious housing discrimination in the granting of mortgages in Boston is very troubling. The serious housing discrimination in Boston is troubling and must be addressed. Same year, Senator Chris Dodd proudly took credit for helping pass a revised Community Reinvestment Act with the help of Reverend Jesse Jackson. Earlier this year Senator John McCain responded to a question by Larry Kudlow. He said, "Absolutely there were people that predicted that the Community Reinvestment Act might lead to reckless and unsound lending practices just short of a fill in the amount of I don't like to use the word quota, but certain percentages of a home of the bank's lending practices, it has to be reexamined. It has to be judged by its effect. We need to find out how this particular system affected the overall insolvency of the subprime lending issue and I think I'm not saying it needs to be repealed but it certainly needs to be examined and what its effects have been and we'll be able to figure that out. Really. As Nancy Pelosi says, along with Harry Reid, that we need to create yet another government agency to handle these situations. That we need another federal agency now to help bail out the people that got these loans because there wasn't any oversight. I contend it was the politicians that pushed people into this situation. It was the politicians that made this possible, and it was not just the Democrats. It was the Republicans as well.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?